Let's End The AR BS!

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Dillinger, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Recently I have been taking A LOT of e-mails and questions from this forum, and an other one I post on, concerning the upcoming election and how to get an AR before anyone makes changes to the legalities. :eek:

    Apparently there is a ton of misinformation out there concerning "3 Tiers" of AR platforms that everyone subscribes too. I was not informed of this recent change of classifications, but apparently everyone voted and the results were final.

    Look. Let's get real here. You want to buy the most prestigious AR on the planet?! The one that everyone will drop their jaws at and WISH they were as cool as you?! Here's a couple of links for you.

    Sabre Defence

    OR

    Look for Precision AR Rifle

    Okay. Are we done f***ing around?! Let's get down to the bottom line for members of the real world.

    Look. An AR platform is an AR platform is an AR platform. It does not matter WHO makes your platform as long as the upper and the lower match up in a nice, friendly and relatively tight tolerance sort of way. If you after World Record type groups, then yes, every part matters. But, if you are after an AR that is going to fire everytime, hit what you are aiming at ( within reason ) and be a solid & reliable piece of kit - the upper and lower manufacturer shouldn't be your shopping criteria.

    Most manufacturers of AR parts put out a "package rifle". That package, unless you are buying one like the examples above, is going to include some sub-par parts, or parts that you would prefer they had changed with Brand "X". Basically, you are buying the same caliber product as if you buy a package laptop, home computer or "sport" package automobile.

    They all offer you a reasonable amount of performance, but if you tore them down to the core and built one from the ground up, you probably would chose different parts than what the bean counters at the Ford SVT Finance Department or Dell's Accounting Department chose to keep the project wthin "market tolerance".

    If you take ANY upper and lower receiver to a qualified gunsmith, he(she) can take those parts and build you a tack driving AR that will make you proud.

    Anyone can put together an AR package that will shoot sub-MOA all day long. The reason they aren't doing it, of all the AR parts and rifle manufacturers out there, is that there is a price break that the market will bear. If I were to offer you a package rifle that will shoot the "X" ring out of a target at 500 yards, guaranteed, everyone would be interested. The next question would be, "how much"? If I said $1USD - I couldn't make them fast enough to keep the buyers happy. If I offered the same package at $4500USD - I would starve to death... LOL

    There are a couple of gunsmiths that turn out a "No Compromises" AR Rifle that will make you proud, they are referenced above. I am sure there are others, but those guys are the 800 pound Gorillas in the room.

    But..... Do you really think you NEED a second mortage to be able to afford it?!

    Go. Talk to a qualified gunsmith in your state and find out what he can do for you in the price range that you are looking to spend.

    You might be surprised at what you can get for the money.

    JD
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  2. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    This is good info as I'm getting ready to buy a couple of stripped lowers and was wondering about some of this stuff. Thanks again!

    Is it a good idea to spend the extra cash on high end trigger parts?
     

  3. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    To be honest, we tune standard GI Triggers and put them in AR's all the time. There are some good tricks that can be done to tune just about any trigger to the shooter. The benefits of a Match Grade, or a custom trigger, is that you can tune it / have it tuned so that it "breaks like glass" - You get a nice smooth take up and then BANG! Round on target.

    To directly answer your question Matt - NO. You don't NEED to buy a high end trigger component.

    BUT, and there always is one, the better the trigger is, the better the overall shot placement is going to be.

    When you get serious, feel free to shoot me a PM and I will see if I can't help you out on the build if you like. :cool:

    JD
     
  4. genie

    genie New Member

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    Yeah, but Commodity Rules

    We done been up and down this road before, so use some caution before jumping into multiple mortgages to buy AR's, or such, because of an upcoming election. Look at the history here: Clinton had an adamantly anti-gun Cabinet, guys like Lloyd Bentsen, illegally declaring certain guns as "destructive devices" (the Street Sweeper shotgun), they got their Crime Bill, ATF got boo-coo more budget, lots of guys got busted, gun shows sold out huge amounts of ammo and guns, and, yes, prices WENT UP. Especially right before passage of the Bill. Then it was hi-cap magazines, buy all you could, while you could, only thing was, a little later, MILLIONS of hi-caps appeared all over the country at wildly inflated prices. Remember Glock mags at $125? So, 2 things there: if you bought lots, both pre-ban guns and mags, you could sell them for profit. But, post-ban stuff appeared (guns) with more politically correct features, no bayo lugs, no pistol grips, no collapsible stocks, no flash hiders, and many, many new-timers bought them because they were CHEAPER than pre-bans, which had become more desirable to the "old-timers".

    Pre-ban features continued to be produced in post-ban times, but legal for, and marked so, indelibly, "Law Enforcement/Military Use Only", so if a guy unknowingly bought such from someone, and he was not LE or a Mil. officer charged with procurement, he could be arrested and charged.

    Move ahead to Bush, 10 year Bill requirement comes due in which, among other things, the hi-cap ban's RESULTS on crime are supposed to be reviewed, and recommendations made. Instead, the whole deal dies at Bush's desk; all of a sudden AR's are everywhere, everybody wants one, but prices fall anyway. Pre-ban Colts which got $2000 in 1995 were now maybe $1000, or even less. Look at other military: Uzi, 1/2 price, along with many others. Mind you, SOME held up pretty good; try to buy a Valmet 82 Bullpup, for example.

    My point is, don't go overboard and buy something many already have. Try rather to fix in your own mind which items will become VERY desirable, should a new crime bill pass, or even if one does not. Remember that decisions made FOR YOU by SOMEONE ELSE make MONEY for the OTHER GUY. Now, if your tack is like the schoolteacher who came up to me at a gun show in Phoenix, about 1993 or so, and bought my 2 Uzi's for $3500 (I thought he was crazy), but he was buying them for his 2 little boys, whom he hoped would keep those guns forever, no matter WHAT frigging laws got passed, (Then I realized he was not so crazy after all), then this is a bit different line of reasoning.
     
  5. bluealtered

    bluealtered New Member

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    You can spend as much, or as little on this as your pocket will stand, you can go to camp perry and just think you've gone to heaven after seeing some of the rifles there.

    However you can also go to places like model1sales and others and get the stuff you need and build cheap shootable ar's that will make dime groups all day long with a little trigger work. (no i didn't say top of the line, just cheap and workable)

    As stated above, it all depends on your idea of whats best, i have a cheapo special that weighs 5.5lbs that i hunt with every week end that drives tacks. I have in the past owned expensive ar's that sat in the safe and collected dust because they were to good to get scratched. I only had to ruin one expensive rifle to figure out what was best for me. blue
     
  6. rickrem700

    rickrem700 New Member

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    Ar's

    Totaly agree, well put!!!
     
  7. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    After the 94 ban, some states banned the possession of "assault" rifles, like Ct.. Ct. residents were required to turn them in at the local cop station. .NY required registering them at the local cop station. So before you spend ANY money on an "assault" weapon, think about what will happen when Mr. Anti-gun becomes President and what he and his anti-gun Senators and Congressmen have up their sleeves. Just because you can buy it now, does not mean you can keep it later - and if they require you to turn it in, they will not "buy it back" from you! There is a new law in the works making it a crime if you don't claim your gun stolen, and if you claim it stolen and it really wasn't, that's a crime also!
     
  8. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    This thread kind of took off the intent with whether or not buying an AR now will be a smart move. Let me say this...

    No one should ever advocate, or participate themselves, in someone buying "over their head" or getting into a financial problem because they feel a need to keep up with the rest of the Forum, or out of fear they are missing out on something.

    You have a responsibility to your family first - keep that in mind. Preparing for SHTF the is fan is a great idea, but don't forget you have to survive everyday life as well. ;)

    Now, as for the "whether or not" buying an AR now is a good idea. At this point, there is a very real chance that we will be given an Anti-Gun President, regardless of who we get. Obama may be the weapon Anti-Christ, but McCain's record isn't that much better across the history of the man. At least McCain has taken the endorsement from the NRA, so there is hope they showed him some footage of Daily Plaza that was never be for seen outside of the power mongers dark, smoke filled rooms Bill Hicks style that got his attention. :D

    Right now, within most States of the US, a person can sell, from private person to private person, a firearm without any special paperwork or reporting. You should definitely investigate the laws in your area and explore this option.

    Anyone looking at purchasing an AR for the first time should really consider the used market. Very good values can be found there, especially with the economy in the state that it is in, currently.

    My real intent for this thread was to expose the fact that you do not need to go heavily into debt to build an AR that will function all day, every day. You can also build yourself a tack driving AR much cheaper than you can purchase a tack driving package new, with a little know how and some careful shopping.

    JD
     
  9. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    Untuned GI triggers, which I've had a lot of experience with, tend to feel very notchy and unnatural. Any tips to tuning an inexpensive trigger?

    Lemme know if you have any more off topic bickering in this thread. Just use the 'report bad post'.
     
  10. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    The most recent one that was done, Brett actually did it for his own personal AR - to see if he could do it. He cut one of the legs off the trigger spring altogether and tightened the wrap ( which helped even out the spring under tension, then he wet stoned the faces that meet between the trigger and the hammer. It's about 3.5# on the trigger gauge, but it's really quite smooth. For a good, inexpensive trigger, it's really well done. I will see if I can get a picture of it for you so you can see what he did. It's a nice finish product for very little real cash outlayed.
    I appreciate the clean up - The intent was to use this thread to expose some of the myths about the "expensive AR" and get some facts out there that can be used by those of us out here on a budget. Appreciate you looking out for me. :D

    JD
     
  11. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Putting Your $$ Where My Mouth is..

    Okay, so having started this thread, I got to thinking last night what I should do is see HOW LOW of a price I can put together, with commonly found parts, on a working AR-15 Lower Receiver for you guys who think you can’t get a quality piece of kit for less than $1,000.

    Here’s my goal – For you to purchase all the parts necessary for a working AR Lower, and have the final bill come in under $400. That will leave you, realistically, $400 to $600 for a working upper that you can buy anywhere, to any spec and caliber, which you might want too.

    Can it be done?!

    First, you are going to need a stripped Lower Receiver. This is the only piece of the project that will require FFL involvement unless you purchase it used, person to person. Check the laws in your state and don’t do anything stupid.

    Recently I came across a stripped Upper and Lower Receiver for $200. That was a bit of a fluke, as I work in a gunshop, but realistically, you should be able to find one for around $125, plus an FFL charge sent to a gunshop near you.

    Here’s a perfectly good stripped lower at an online site that will send to an FFL near you for $110. Tack on $35 for a “processing charge”, maybe $10 for shipping and you are off to the races.

    So, I am going to say you spend $200 TOTAL to get yourself a stripped lower. Can I still get you a good quality working lower and come in under the price of $400?! Surely I can’t – AR’s are expensive toys….. Or are they?

    Brownell’s is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Membership is free, and once you order from them, you get the unpublished prices on a lot of their products. Sign in, take a look at the same parts, but see that you will be getting them for a bit cheaper. Easily enough to offset shipping on a decent sized order.

    From Brownell’s I found this handy pre-packaged piece of kit.

    DPMS , I am sure you have heard of them if you are in the AR market, also offers complete parts kits for lower AR receivers. You are getting everything you need to assemble the main body of the lower AR. Springs? Check. Detents? Check. Trigger? Check. Fire Control Selector? Check. Handle? Check. Pivot Pin? Check. Take Down Pin? Check. It’s all their, in one kit.

    That’s got to be pricey – It’s all mil-spec and it’s all in one package from a company like DPMS. Right?

    How about $44? That’s a member price. $44, plus shipping, and you can assemble all the components to a working lower. Granted, you need a stock though… Hmmm…..

    Like the A2 solid stock?

    Also at Brownells: Here’s the DPMS version complete with everything you need to assemble it and have a complete lower assembly, ready to go with any upper you desire.

    Price? How about $66.60, plus shipping, direct from Brownell’s to your door?

    So, you order them together, save on shipping, let’s call it $20 to be safe…

    Lower Receiver...:$200
    DPMS Parts Kit..:$ 44
    DPMS A2 Stock.:$ 67
    Shipping.............: $ 20
    Total..................: $331

    Wow. For like $335 bucks, on the high end, you can have a complete, working AR-15 lower assembly that is Mil-Spec and target ready? Well, that and $12 for membership to the Firearm’s Talk Forum with access to the Knowledge Base for a complete How To Guide. :D
     
  12. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Wait. I want a Collapsible Stock.

    Wait. You don’t want an A2 Solid Stock. ****. Well, I could be totally screwed now…:D

    Still at Brownell’s – and in the interest of keeping things fair, I am still only shopping the DPMS parts….

    Here’s a Mil-Spec 5 position stock tube for $31.95. Now, I don’t think that comes with the buffer spring and other equipment, so just to be sure, let’s add that price in.

    DPMS only offers the Buffer Retainer. It’s $1.29. I am betting there is a package deal that’s a better bargain.

    High Standard makes a complete Buffer Assembly, which would be fine. It’s $15.89

    You might not like High Standard. I personally have no opinion, but I know others do, so let’s keep shopping….

    Rock River Arms makes a complete 6 position collapsible stock with all the gear needed to assemble it. It’s probably a better over all deal. $75 if you want Black. $80 if you want Green.

    So, doing the math:

    Lower Receiver..........:$200
    DPMS Parts Kit.........:$ 44
    Rock River Stock.......:$ 75
    Shipping.....................:$ 20
    TOTAL....................: $339

    So there you have it guys. This is all Mil-Spec parts. This is all stuff you can buy and assemble yourselves to have a complete, working lower AR Receiver. This receiver will match up to any upper you choose to buy ( with very few exceptions ) and you are in at less than $350.

    Now, take that extra $450 or $650 you were going to drop on a “package” AR and do some shopping for a complete upper. You will find some very nice eye opening surprises in how much true product you can get when you don’t by the “package” deal.

    JD
     
  13. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    JD-
    I see you fielding a lot of questions about AR's. Accuracy vs. price etc. I don't have the manufacturers resources that you do, but I have a significant amount of time building them and more shooting them. To reinforce your Brownells plug, they discount their FFL items too. DPMS lower advertised now at $184, is $114 with the discount which the FFL holder will get. So the mark up from the FFL ishould be based on a % of $114 not $184, unless the FFL holder charges a flat fee.
    I am a huge advocate and fan of Model 1 Sales as I have stated before. There parts are "mil spec" (which I will mention in a second) and they use Shaw barrels. The kits they offer include everything except the lower. Pistol grip, stock, lower parts, complete upper, bolt, carrier,charging handle, everything. Head spaced and timed, ready to go. A standard CAR kit is $460 with A2 sights and 4 position stock. You can change options which affects price.
    Mil spec means the tolerances meet military specifications for that part. Variances plus or minus are allowed, as I am sure you know. If someone's looking to build an AR with a super clean crisp trigger, those parts will no longer be within "mil spec" most likely since the tolerance has been modified to plus or minus that specified. A military trigger feels the way it does because the tolerances have to fall into a certain range. Mess with it till it breaks like a glass rod and it is, at best, at the upper or lower end of the range, but most likely outside the range.
    Lowers? In the last couple of years it is no longer a secret that many big companies contracted their manufacturing to smaller companies, but stamped a recognized logo on the item before sale. AR lowers are no different. DPMS, Stag, Rock River, and some others like Mega and Double Star didn't buy the tooling equipment and facilities to make AR lowers, set up, manufacture and successfully market them in the span of 8 years. They splintered from their contract manufacturer and went out on their own with their own brand name. I would venture that a rifle built on a Rock River lower will not out shoot one built on a DPMS, Mega or other lower priced lower. The lower has so little to do with accuracy, as long as it meets industry standards, it's almost moot. Final finish may be better, darker, deeper, smoother etc., but functionally they are the same. Same goes for the upper receiver itself. Accuracy stems primarily from the barrel. A lighter crisper trigger doesn't help accuracy, only limits the time the shooter has to make a mistake in trigger squeeze before it goes off so the sight picture is still correct when it goes off. Another common thing I hear is a tighter fit between the lower and upper means better accuracy. That is not true, to a point. Obviously if you can slide a finger in there it will be detrimental, but that leads back to one or the other or both being out of spec.
    I love building AR rifles, but I also have a family so hunting for the best deal has been a priority. Lower of choice plus Model 1's "kit" has been the best compromise I have found. I have three kits from them, a 16" ss fluted, a lightweight CAR, and a 10.25 SBR on STAG, CAV Arms and DPMS lowers, respectively. The 16" barrels both shoot as accurately as the full Rock River 16" I have, and all are 100% reliable.
    Cheap price does not always mean you sacrifice quality. No, I can't say I own a Les Baer, but mine cost a fraction and function just as well. And I can't afford four Les Baer rifles.
    Your input and knowledge is awesome, I really appreciate your posts as I know a lot of others do. Keep it up man.
     
  14. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Jeep - Really great post man, thanks for including those bargains. Really cool of you to take the time to do that.

    I used the "Mil-Spec" nomenclature because that is what people are asking for. They want a Mil-Spec Rifle that shoots. I totally agree with almost every point. Mil Spec isn't the best, but it's what people are looking to build for a "Minute of Bad Guy" type of AR.

    Those packages above will allow them to do that without breaking the bank. That was my goal. Here is an AR on a budget. I hate all the talk that you can't shoot a good group with an AR if you don't spend big bucks. You could take one of those lowers, & parts above, do an easy 15 minute trigger job on a "mil-spec" trigger like I have e-mailed to Matt G, buy yourself a nice upper and get Minute of Angle groups, maybe better, all day long.

    My big deal is, you don't need to spend $1200 on an AR to have a quality product. They are so easy to build, and so easy to maintain, that some people just read one post on a forum about dude who got a Colt for $1600, which was a screaming bargain, and it shoots cloverleafs all day long. Well, that's great. For $1600, I can probably build you one that will bug hole all day long, leaving enough money left over for some optics, and maybe some reloading gear.

    If you can afford a Les Baer, or a Dave Lauck, or a Sabre Defence - Great. They make an awesome product. But, a lot of the guys here on this site work for a living, have kids, bills and responsibilities to take care of first. That doesn't mean they can't build themselves a hell of a shooting AR with somewhat less money and be just as proud of it.

    Plus, how cool is it, really, to be able to say you built that AR? Tell the truth, it's pretty cool to unpack that at the range with your buddies and when they ask "Who makes it?" you can tell them you did it. Bragging rights anyone?

    JD
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  15. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    JD-
    Exactly what I was trying to say, I was a little long winded. "Normal" budgets and guys (or girls) with a little know how and mechanical aptitude can do pretty well for pretty cheap.
    Could I ask you to send me your trigger tweaking tips? Thanks.
     
  16. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    We seem to be on the same page jeep - I knew I liked you for a reason. :D


    I sent you the same tips I sent Matt. The 15 minute tune up isn't mine, but it's very similar to one we do in the shop on GI Triggers. I also included a spring kit from Brownell's that is a good, cheap way to take some of the trouble out of a factory trigger.

    Let me know how it works for you, and you Matt, as I am interested in the average joe's ability to fine tune a factory trigger. If it is successful, and you don't have to much in the way of headaches, I will put our shop procedure into writing and publish it here for the guys.

    The most important thing - you DO NOT need a $279 Giselle Custom Trigger to shoot tight groups. :D

    JD
     
  17. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    Any idea how much that trigger job lightens the hammer impact?
     
  18. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Matt - The one that Brett did on his AR, which reminds me I need to get pictures when he gets back from vaca, he has yet to have any failure to ignite either with Military surplus or his handloads.

    According to the write up, this drops the hammer impact around 20%-25%. If you have a problem with the results, it's about $2 or $3 bucks worth of two springs that need to be replaced.

    For about $13, you can buy the replacement springs that are drop in and take about 10% to 15% off the creep of the stock trigger.

    It's worth a try in my mind...

    JD
     
  19. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    slowryde45 - That is another great point. MidwayUSA is another great resource for the do it yourselfer. I have ordered from them frequently as well, I just didn't reference them today because I was focused on the ease of buying all the parts you need from one source and making it easy for the new guys.

    ar15sales sounds like a good site. I have not shopped there yet, but you can bet I will be checking out their home page tonight when I am done posting here. :D

    Thanks for putting that good info out there for all the guys. It sounds like they have some great prices!

    As for location, I am North of Tacoma and a little bit to the East. Bonney Lake.

    Nice to meet your acquaintance, neighbor.

    JD
     
  20. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    This thread has had something like 471 views. I love it! :cool:

    Let's get the word out there and dispel some of these myths about the "expensive" AR Platform....

    JD